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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Texarkana AR

How to Pick the Right Interior Design School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Texarkana AR, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Some potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Texarkana AR

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Texarkana AR can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Texarkana Arkansas interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Texarkana AR. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Arkansas community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

Texarkana AR student attending interior design school onlineFor those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Texarkana AR homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Texarkana AR home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Texarkana Arkansas employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Texarkana AR college you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Texarkana AR business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Texarkana AR colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Texarkana AR colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Texarkana home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Texarkana AR, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Texarkana Arkansas

interior designed kitchen in Texarkana ArkansasSelecting the right interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Texarkana Arkansas.